Strong women:
challenging perceptions in weightlifting

Kerry is one of our Health Advisors at Bupa King’s Cross and has been with us since August 2019. For International Women’s Day, she shares her weightlifting journey and how perceptions of women in sport are changing.

Growing up I encountered a lot of stereotyping about women in sport, specifically those who weightlift. There’s loads of misinformation about what weightlifting does to your body. This contributes to why females are hesitant to give it a go, along with social media focussing so much on cardio and some saying that women need a particular body type.

From personal experience, people are surprised I participate in weightlifting as I don’t ‘look like’ the type or look very strong. It used to make me think I couldn’t go very far in the sport, however the more I was exposed to seeing other females lift, the more I realised there was no particular body shape or size for weightlifting, and everyone has the potential to get to where they want to be.

More recently, this negative perception has been challenged. This is partly down to successful campaigns such as This Girl Can, and hashtags like #GirlsWhoLift. Both were created to inspire women to take part in sport and physical activity no matter what shape, size or how experienced they were.

Weightlifting makes me feel empowered, strong, healthy, and confident which are some of the many reasons I love doing it and why other women might too!

Being strong is becoming more of a norm. I even notice this in my current weightlifting club where the majority of members are females.  It’s such a great thing to see rather than females feeling like it’s a territory that we can’t enter. I hope we continue to see more of this, as it’s no longer a taboo subject.

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